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PwC comments on October 2020 ONS retail sales figures


Commenting on the Office of National Statistics retail sales figures for October 2020

Lisa Hooker, consumer markets leader at PwC, said:

“Retail sales continued its gravity-defying recovery from the pandemic last month, growing by a whopping 7.7% year-on-year excluding fuel - the sixth consecutive month of growth since the lockdown, and reinforcing the resilience of both the consumer and the sector’s ability to adapt and respond to the challenges it is facing.

“There was a recovery in almost every category of the sector, and measuring the period to 31 October, these figures don’t include the last minute rush to the high street after the second lockdown was announced. In fact, the only category to show a material decline in sales was fashion, with less demand for occasionwear and workwear continuing to hit an already beleaguered part of the market.

“However, October is normally the quietest month of retail’s Golden Quarter and would also have benefitted from consumers bringing forward their Christmas shopping in anticipation of high street restrictions and delivery delays for online purchases.

“The closure of non-essential stores and slump in consumer sentiment earlier this month will severely hamper the sector with little over a month to go to Christmas and Black Friday just a week away. Our latest research, launched today, already shows that the restrictions have wiped £2 billion of consumers’ Black Friday shopping intentions.

“Looking ahead to December, with online delivery capacity already stretched to its limits, retailers will be hoping for a swift lifting of lockdown restrictions and that consumers continue to show they can bounce back into spending mode, as they did after the first lockdown was lifted in June.”


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